Background

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Christians Living in Persecution

Watchman Nee is a name I have seen in Christian literature for many years. After reading several of his quotes, I decided it was time I learned more about him. After all, everything I've read that was attributed to him, is amazingly accurate and insightful. I knew he was a church leader and Christian teacher who worked in China during the 20th century. I learned that during his lifetime he published many books and established churches throughout China and held many conferences to train Bible students and church workers. Following the Communist Revolution, Nee was persecuted and imprisoned for his faith. He spent the last twenty years of his life in prison - until his death in 1972.

When I read of the "Religious Affairs Bureau," I was curious about the title of such a government agency in a Communist country, and did a bit of research on it. This agency was charged with keeping religion under state control. After the rise of the Chinese Communist Party in 1949 Christians came under great persecution. There were intensive propaganda campaigns with threats of prison where Christians were influenced to accuse one another. In 1956, there was a nationwide effort to target church members. Some died in labor camps, and others faced long prison sentences. The Religious Affairs Bureau began twelve days of accusation meetings at a church Ne was sentenced to prison on several false claims, and his co-workers were arrested and forced to denounce Nee. Many mass accusation meetings were held across the country to condemn the "anti-revolutionary sect of Watchman Nee."


The lengths that Communist China underwent to quash Christianity is profoundly sad and frightening. It sure makes one appreciate living in the United States where we are allowed to practice freedom of religion doesn't it?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Notes on Ephesians

"The church in Ephesus was composted of different ethnic groups. Some were former Jews who tended to e critical, stodgy, and legalistic. Others left pagan Artemis worship to join the church. Their former lives smacked of occult worship, sexual promiscuity, and superstition. These two groups looked at life from totally different perspectives. But if they could not find a way to love one another and work together, the church at Ephesus could not stand. Paul writes encouraging works to help them, knowing that unity only comes through God's enabling power."

"About three years before Paul wrote this letter, he was arrested in Jerusalem on the charge that he had taken an Ephesian Gentile named Trophimus into the restricted temple area."

"A literal stone wall divided the temple in Jerusalem. It marked where Gentiles could not go, under penalty of death. The Jewish converts in the Ephesian church had continued to exclude Gentile converts out of habit, but God would not stand for it."

"When Paul says Christ 'set aside' or 'abolished' the law, he doesn't mean that the Old Testament is no longer the Word of god or a moral guide. What is abolished is the law as a set of regulations that exclude Gentiles. Other parts of the Old Testament law have been fulfilled by Christ, including the sacrificial system, which is no longer needed since Christ is the sacrifice for sins, once and for all."

"If the plight was estrangement and distance, the solution is nearness and belonging."
Klyne Snodgrass


Ephesians Discovering our Identity and Purpose in Christ. by Sue Edwards

Saturday, March 18, 2017

One of the Best Sermons!

This is without a doubt one of the best sermons I've heard. It offers practical help in an area in which we all need guidance. Charles Stanley offers such practical help in his sermons. He tells us not just WHAT to do, but offers practical instruction on HOW to do it.


These are the notes I took while watching this video. Perhaps they will be of some help.

There is awesome power in forgiveness. It is God's solution for bitterness, resentment, and hostility. You and I need the freedom found only through sincerely and completely forgiving others.

Forgiveness is giving up resentment against someone and our right to get even no matter what has been done to us. It is the surrendering of my right to hurt you back.

Freedom from the enslavement of anger and all the feelings that go with it: hostility, bitterness and resentment.

You can't just say you forgive, you have to experience it. If you try to justify someone's wrong to you, you are not forgiving them.

Matthew 6:12-15

Living in the willful sin is a condition in which God will not answer our prayer. If he did, he would be condoning sin. which is out of his character. Perhaps one reason people are not blessed is because of unforgiveness.

Unforgiveness is detrimental to our souls. It interferes with your fellowship with God. Not your relationship with him because once saved you are saved.

Matthew 18:21 Jesus instructs us to forgive 70 times 7. If you don't forgive others, the father won't forgive you.

There is no justifiable reason for not forgiving others.

Ephesians 4:30-32 1 John 1:9
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit. Be kind to one another, forgive.

Don't let anger become deep down hostility inside you. Forgiveness is the most unselfish act we can perform. God will enable us to forgive.

Unforgiveness is a chain around your heart.

To deal with anger:
  • acknowledge you have experienced God's forgiveness
  • confess your anger and hostility
  • lay down your anger and bitterness
  • ask God to forgive you

By an act of my will, I choose by the power of the Holy Spirit, to lay down this anger.

When you have held an attitude of resentment towards someone who hurt you, ask for their forgiveness by saying, "My attitude towards you has not been right."


If you have forgiven you will thank God for allowing this to happen Ask God to teach you about His grace. Remind yourself, God's grace has surrounded me all these years.

When you have forgiveness:
  1. you will not feel the same way the next time you see them
  2. your harsh feelings are replaced with compassion
  3. you can accept them the way they are
  4. you will consider why they did that






A Constant Attitude of Prayer

The following is an excerpt from Sue Edwards' book, Ephesians: Discovering Your Identity and Purpose in Christ. This attitude of including God in all aspects of our lives is what He wants. He wants to spend time with us and have us share our lives with him. He longs for this type of relationship with us, and when we do we experience profound Joy. When we develop this relationship with God, we learn to listen to him speaking to our hearts. The Holy Spirit gives us more guidance the more we include Him in our lives. We learn to listen to Him as we talk to Him about our daily activities and thoughts. In this intimate relationship we find a type of 'best friend' that goes far beyond our earthly best friends.

God asks us to live in a constant attitude of prayer. We include God in the inner conversations of our hearts and minds all day long. We include God as we carry out our daily routines, and we ring God into all our relationships.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Instructions for Living

These verses from 2 Thessalonians really stuck with me this past week. AS is often the case, once I read these instructions for living, they popped up again in my devotional and on Christian radio.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from very believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, or did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.
Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.  2 Thessalonians 3:6-15
So, in a nutshell, these are directions given to the Thessalonian:
  • Do not be idle, earn the food you eat. “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
  • Be busy, but don't be busybodies
  • Do not associate with anyone who doesn't obey these instructions
  • Don't regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.
These instructions still apply to us. Living in the world is hard. We are bombarded daily with truths of the secular world. TV, radio, print media all add to the saturation of ideas that the world claims are "okay." We must be constantly aware of these lies that delight Satan. Reading the Bible, praying and having Godly friends are daily necessities for us as we navigate through this troubling world. From the book of Ephesians we learn the marvelous hope that God gives us. He will triumph in the end, this life is temporary and don't worry about world leaders. He's got it covered, God has our back.
The part about not hanging around people who don't obey these instructions may be, at times, difficult, but for the most part, the people who are our friends, who we choose to socialize are believers who try to live in the Word. However, we do see others in the store, at work and elsewhere in our daily lives. That's a good thing because it gives us the opportunity to be one of Christ's shinning lights, to be an example.

Now the part about warning them has me wondering. That could be tricky to balance with the whole not judging others thing. Maybe it can be a subtle thing with those closest to us? The politically correct movement has definitely hampered discussions. It's something worth pondering. The path Christians are instructed to follow really is very straight and narrow isn't it?

Our dear Sister in Christ, Page shared this with us this week:
"We can't make people respond to the Gospel, 
but we can invite them to hear it, 
serve them so they can see it, 
and pray for them to receive it."
Taken from a NewSpring devotional titled: Dear God, Save People In This Place


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Humble and KInd

This is such a wonderful song, the melody is lovely, and the lyrics are awesome! This is a song that SHOULD get "stuck in our heads!"
Written by Lori Mckenna  Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

You know there's a lot that goes by the front door
Don't forget the keys under the mat
Childhood stars shine, always stay humble and kind
Go to church 'cause your momma says to
Visit grandpa every chance that you can
It won't be a waste of time
Always stay humble and kind
Hold the door say please say thank you
Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie
I know you got moutains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you're dreamin' come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind
Don't expect a free ride from no one
Don't hold a grudge or a chip and here's why
Bitterness keeps you from flying
Always stay humble and kind
Know the difference between sleeping with someone
And sleeping with someone you love
I love you ain't no pick up line so
Always stay humble and kind
Hold the door say please say thank you
Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie
I know you got moutains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When those dreams you're dreamin' come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind
When it's hot, eat a root beer, a popsickle
Shut off the AC and roll the windows down
Let that summer sun shine
Always stay humble and kind
Don't take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you're goin'
Don't forget turn back around
Help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind.